Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bravo, Bravo!

February 19, 2010

Reality shows generally operate under the same formula: take an uneducated blow-up doll and give them their own soapbox. On this soapbox, this uneducated person will undoubtedly say horribly stupid things and we, the viewers, can laugh at their ignorance and in turn feel better about ourselves. It’s not rocket science. It’s reality TV.

But in recent years, Bravo has given the reality television genre a much-needed makeover. For starters, they’ve veered away from the usual reality show target i.e. a twenty-something and have graciously given the spotlight to middle-aged men and women. Genius and largely unprecedented. Secondly, reality shows main focus is to propel relative unknowns into reality TV stardom. Their focus is to get people exposure based on a reality show, not any kind of legitimate career. This totally sucks because it gives unecessary fame to gross people like Paris Hilton, the girls of The Hills, Kim Kardashian and Tila Tequila.

Bravo flips that around and bases their shows around a professional whose career is already established (Millionaire Matchmaker, Kell On Earth, Flipping Out). These people are successful, rich, articulate and quirky. They’re doing their reality show not to gain infamy but as a way to boost business and feed their ego. This goes against what many people believe to be what reality TV is all about: making dumb people famous for nothing outside of doing their own reality show. Their “reality”, by the way, is largely indebted to their reality show. When Kim Kardashian is filmed doing a swimsuit shoot on Keeping Up With The Kardashian, it’s safe to assume that she landed said shoot based on the exposure and high ratings of her show. Without it, the only thing Kim Kardashian would be booking is starring roles in her own sex tape.

Obviously, Bravo isn’t perfect (Nor should they be.)  The Real Housewives franchise, for example,  is built around entitled narcissitic rich people of little redeemable intelligence. (Exception being the New York cast. Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel aren’t stupid.) Like Paris & Kim K., many of the Real Housewives have parlayed their reality show fame into record deals and clothing lines.

But Bravo shows are smart. They’re edited brilliantly.


The Real Housewives of Orange County could’ve been produced as simplisitic, light and frothy.  The message could’ve been just like the other reality shows that feature oppulent lifestyles: “Rich people are undeserving of their wealth and awful people.” And granted,  it is like that sometimes. But it’s mostly just really depressing brilliant social commentary. These women are fucked up and sad. Seriously, if I had their lives, I would keep a camera crew far away. They expose so much of themselves that it can be almost uncomfortable to watch. It’s compelling stuff. You almost empathize with them. And that’s what Bravo wants you to feel, that’s their point-of-view.

Kelly Cutrone is so brilliant, she gives me chills. Her perceptive behavior towards fashion culture is so spot-on and refreshing. It’s like she’s this outsider that was given a VIP pass to this insane other world. It’s the antidote to the equally-entertaining Rachel Zoe Project. Unlike Rachel Zoe, Kelly Cutrone acknowledges the ridiculousness of fashion designers and her job. Does that mean she’s not gonna flip her shit over something as silly as a misplaced guest list? No but at least she’ll have some perspective while doing it.

It’s like Russian Roulette but with penises.

February 15, 2010

Who wants to play Chat Roulette with us?

I was introduced to the website, Chat Roulette, today and I fear that my life will be no longer the same. It’s a self-professed “service for one-on-one text-, webcam- and microphone -based chat with people around the world.” What that loosely translates to is “a website where you can video chat with sexually-deviant freaks, 12 year-olds and lonely old people from anywhere in the world.” The concept is so simple and yet so compelling. If I wanted to (and I usually do apparently), I could go on Chat Roulette right now and video chat with some guy masturbating. I could laugh awkwardly, send him lurid messages and by the time I felt any shame, I could “next” him and move on to the next person. This website works on so many levels. For starters, it’s the “unknown” factor that is perhaps so intriguing about the site. You have no idea who you’re going to meet. Most of the time, it’s the stereotypical creeper; an oversexed frat boy drooling at the possibility of seeing teen flesh or an overweight balding man offending you with his ugly throbbing cock. But some of the time, you’ll come across like-minded individuals who will share in their disgust over the undesirable men and women showing skin.

But if anyone claims to be repulsed by the dirty things they’re seeing, they’re not exactly being truthful because it’s a big reason as to why people go on Chat Roulette in the first place. They want to see the big fat guy in bondage so they can laugh about it with their friends on camera and have the satisfaction of feeling “normal.” However, us “normals” are the ones getting titillated by the site’s obscenity and coming back for more. It taps into our voyeuristic and curious side, a side that I thought had been already thoroughly exploited by the internet but obviously not enough.

The website also reminds me of that insane MTV dating show, Next. The one where a gaggle of twenty-somethings hang out on a bus. Each person gets sent out to go on a low-budget date with some stupid loser from Orange County and runs the risk of getting axed or “nexted” if they  aren’t to their date’s liking. It’s so demeaning because people are often “nexted” on the spot, based on their physical appearance. Chat Roulette works in a similar way (hence, the “roulette” I suppose).  If someone doesn’t look appealing to you in the first 2.5 seconds of a chat, you can immediately “Next” them and be sent to another random stranger. Most often, people are “nexted” the second their picture appears. Meanwhile, the spurned folk are left to sit back and wonder, “What was so offensive about me that made you want to end the chat before it began?”  In the words of Cher Horrowitz, “That’s way harsh, Tai.”

The site also lends further credence to my theory that all these social-network sites have kept us more connected on a superficial level with one another. However, when it comes to creating any substantive bonds, they’ve made us so socially inept and alienated that we would rather spend our Saturday afternoons watching a stranger from Brazil jack off into a cup than meet an old friend for coffee.

$$$$/Art.

February 8, 2010

I’m in the middle of reading Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, and it’s raised some interesting questions for me. Before buying the book, I had the most basic knowledge of both Patti Smith & Robert Maplethorpe. I knew that Patti Smith was a cult rocker who made the seminal rock album, Horses. And I was aware of Robert Maplethorpe’s revered status as a homo-erotic photographer. But beyond that, my knowledge was limited.

An interview with Patti Smith in (what else?) this month’s Interview implored me to read the book.In the article,  she talks about the gentrification of New York City and the correlation between poverty and life as an artist. Normally, I would roll my eyes at such tired topics but Smith’s eloquence struck me. The book, so far, is interesting. It definitely romanticizes life in the “old” New York, living hand-to-mouth but making beautiful art with your cute creative friends. It’s kind of all the old cliches about artists rolled into one memoir but for some reason, it matters more coming from Patti Smith’s mouth. Maybe because she has the talent (musically at least) to back up her words.And it gets me thinking about the relationship between money and art. In the 70’s, I feel like it was almost necessary for an artist to come from a rough impoverished background. It gave them the tragedy that would be deemed necessary to fuel “great art.” But I’ve always had a problem with the idea of a starving artist. Why can’t an artist eat caviar instead of canned beans?  An artist’s upbringing plays a pivotal role in their work. It acts as their point of reference, it’s what they know. But why is one upbringing more valid than the other?

But then I think of today’s new artists and I see a definite change. Photographers like Ryan McGinley and Jack Seigel certainly don’t seem starving. Quite the opposite, they appear always well-groomed, fashionable and as attractive as their subjects. And for some reason, this bothers me as much as the concept of the starving artist. Maybe its fear of nepotism, an easy ride, whatever. I feel like the bougie socialite, the person that picks up a Holga camera during their photography class at Crossroads High School, is the new modern artist/photographer. These kids also have a strong relationship to the internet and post photos taken on their expensive cameras of their jaunts to Europe, party photography, etc. Robert Maplethorpe didn’t have access to the internet and if he did, he sure wouldn’t post pictures of his nights at Misshapes. Or maybe he actually would.

This rant has no real cohesion. No concrete conclusion. And I normally loathe talking about things of this nature but I just Youtubed so many episodes of Autopsy Presents, ate so much Nutella and I can’t sleep. So there you have it.

A NEW VERSION OF U, A NEW VERSION OF ME: ME & FELICITY.

December 17, 2009

The saddest part about graduating from college is not facing the cold harsh reality of entering the workplace during a time of record high unemployment. Nor is it saying goodbye to the hysterical parties, the weird hook-ups, the brutal hangovers. (I’m sure those will continue to follow me in post-collegiate life)

It’s none of those things. The saddest part about graduating from college is that I can no longer relate to this over-analytical frizzy-haired crazy person.

Felicity Porter was arguably my guiding light in college. I often yearned for a “What Would Felicity Do?” bracelet during those times of indecision and heartache. The show followed Felicity from freshman year of college to graduation. It ran for four beautiful seasons and now that I have graduated, I have to leave her behind.

Just like myself, Felicity underwent a major evolution in college. She  started college as a virginal nerdy stalker-type person in dire need of some styling assistance. She ended the series as a beautiful confident woman with amazing hair (& she wore less sweaters, thank God). And it’s not just Felicity I’ll miss. I’ll definitely miss her insane Gothic roommate, Megan, and that Pink Power Ranger who got raped by Brian from My So-Called Life.

I also really love that Felicity worked at Dean & Deluca during college. It introduced me to the beautiful/delusional world of $6.00 lattes and well-dressed grocers. Upon arriving in NYC, I shunned the usual tourist traps in favor of seeing the coffeeshop where Felicity, Javier and Ben worked. They brewed more than just coffee at Dean & Deluca. They also brewed the sexual tension and/or animosity between Felicity and Ben.

Favorite moments of the show include: the wacky Brit that lived with Felicity & did crack in the bathroom with her boyfriend, Megan’s spells, Megan’s wardrobe, Megan wandering with her Gothic friends in underground Subway tunnels, whenever the Pink Power Ranger wasn’t singing on her guitar about being adopted.

Some questions will remain unanswered as I venture out into the real world. Like, I still want to know why the characters whispered all the time. After having lived in NYC for two years, I can safely say that whispering does not exist in this city. You yell, you sob, you laugh. You never whisper. I know that Felicity was filmed on a soundstage in Studio City but I think it would’ve added a sense of realism if Felicity talked above a hushed tone once in awhile.

But alas, some questions weren’t meant to be answered. Bye college. Bye Felicity.

Goodbye Megan and your ridiculous iconic ensembles.

GRADUATING BYE.

December 9, 2009

I’m doing finals so I don’t feel like writing but here are some visuals:

An Olsen stoner.

Then:

Now:

Books That Aren’t Twilight.

November 30, 2009

 

I saw New Moon in hopes that it would provide me endless fodder for this here blog. While it did give me a bounty of material, I left the theatre with an icky feeling in my stomach. This is what America is choosing to latch on to? Bella Swan is the most offensive female character since….a woman in a revered piece of Victorian literature. Read between the lines, babes: THIS SHIT IS REAL WEIRD. I don’t even really wanna blog about it. It’s too depressing. 

 

In other news, I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’m graduating college in three weeks and have a plethora of writing to do before then. Reading unassigned books is not only a stellar procrastination method but it mellows me out. Right now I’m reading:

 

Opiates really softened the blow of getting hit by a car. In my experience, drugs like Vicodin don’t do much in the way of easing actual pain. However, they’re exceptional at making you not give a shit that you just had four surgeries in twelve days, fractured your elbow and had a skin graft operation. Trust me. This book is essentially a how-to guide on making opium tea. Now before you get all judgey, opium tea is not super strong and you don’t drink it in crazy opium dens with your drug dealer. It’s more of a “stay at home Rachel Ray” activity. Anyone wanna help me make it? Seriously, I need help. The directions are confusing. 

 

 

I love reading books about old New York, a time when you could get an apartment in the West Village for $300 dollars a month and have to be mindful of the syringes on the sidewalk. For us us newbies, It’s hard to fathom that such a place ever really existed. But it did because Edmund White wrote a book about it. It’s a fun read. I especially like the parts when he talks about gay life pre and a little post-Stonewall. It’s nothing too earth-shattering (People cruised on Christopher Street, felt shame about their sexuality. Wait, we are talking about the past, right?) I like the way he writes mostly. It’s simple, concise and direct. I also give him props. Living in NYC during the sixties and seventies was no cakewalk. Rather, it was more of a walk that was littered with muggings, paranoia, and drama. Bad drama.

Women You Need In Your Life: Part Two.

November 18, 2009

Robin Tunney

Robin Tunney is one of my favorite forgotten 90’s stars. She’s best known for her roles in The Craft & Empire Records. But she also starred in amazing indie fare like Niagara, Niagara & Cherish. She always had this effortlessly cool vibe about her. I don’t know what the fuck she’s doing now. Probably starring in some weird TV show on ABC or something.

The Women of Popular

Popular had a huge impact  on my life. It aired while I was in middle school, a time when I was getting over Pam Anderson and under Antonio Banderas (Don’t judge. We all have our inexplicable preferences!) Even though I wasn’t due to come out til I was a senior in high school, my kinship with the characters of Mary Cherry, Nicole Julian, April Tuna and Bobbi Glass could only be explained in one way: I was gay (NO WAY.) Yes way. And I have the earth-shattering “borderline-retarded” character of Mary Cherry to thank for helping me come to this realization. Popular was the gayest “not gay” show on television. It was campy and had a distinct gay sensibility that all the other TV shows lacked. My connection to the show helped flesh out my sexual identity. I owe this show a major Nicole Julian-esque “thank youuuu.”

Women You Need In Your Life.

November 16, 2009

gibbler1

Kimmy Gibbler

Historically, sitcoms have operated under the idea that the sidekick is funnier than the star (ex: Karen versus Grace, Rhoda versus Mary). Iconic 90’s television hit, Full House, stayed faithful to this formula by creating the life-altering character of Kimmy Gibbler. Playing the best friend of D.J. Tanner, Kimmy became known for her brilliant insults and insane fashions. Whereas D.J. was better known for her moralistic behavior and her predilection towards stress-eating, Gibbler was the wild card, bursting into the Tanner’s house and ripping everyone a much-deserved new asshole.

And her clothes…there’s almost no words. Poofy dresses, brightly-colored tights, obnoxious accessories. Her outfits defied logic/any kind of tasteful sensibilities. Often, Kimmy would resemble a conceptual art piece rather than an actual human being. Genius.

 

Bijou Phillips

Bijou Fucking Phillips. Obsessed. Always have been, always will. This girl’s on acid…seriously. Think Paris Hilton but with personality and the ability to make facial expressions. She’s the progeny of John Phillips (who apparently liked to have sex with his daughters? UH-OH.) and Mama babe Michelle Phillips. In the 90’s, she was a total fixture of the party scene. She used this little bit of notoriety and parlayed it into starring in movies with direct-to-video queen, Dominique Swain, and recording albums that seriously five people bought. Even though Bijou has never really “made it”, it doesn’t really matter because she’s sexy, insane and says weird shit in interviews that keep me Googling her name on a continuous basis. Today, she’s the full-time girlfriend of Danny Masterson. They even graced the cover of Paper magazine together last year. The last thing she starred in that I could see in an actual theatre rather than at the racks of Blockbuster, was Hostel II.  Which was just weird,

New York

November 9, 2009

 

I know I’m late to this party but better late than never, right? Is it weird that I almost teared up the first time I heard this?

 

kurtvile-1

 

I’ve been writing my senior thesis and listening to a lot of Kurt Vile. I usually can’t write while listening to music but Vile has a calming dreamy effect on me.  It makes me feel like I’m high living on a farm somewhere. Which, after this semester, looks more and more appealing.

 

I saw Precious. Biggest gay downer movie ever. Really beautiful and fucked. You’ll walk out of the film remembering that you’re lucky. And then you’ll forget again. I also saw The Maid and The House of the Devil which were just fucking brilliant albeit completely different from one another. See immediately.

SHAMELESS PLUG.

November 2, 2009

I blog for this website now & you should all read my new article!